Consumer behavior no longer supports an ad-first model for publishers. One survey showed that 56 percent of respondents prefer online shopping to a traditional in-person experience. Additionally, 59 percent of shoppers conduct online research before making a major purchase.
As a result, publishers recognize commerce content as an increasingly attractive revenue stream. This form of digital content presents readers with products the editorial team stands behind while generating revenue through brand sponsorships and affiliate links.
Publishers relied on traditional advertising to sustain their platforms for decades, but that revenue source shrinks as tech giants like Facebook and Google continue to grow their market share. Consumers also ignore online advertising — ad blindness is a real phenomenon and ad blocker use is rising.
As a result, many publishers seek commerce content brands that align with their values. To succeed with commerce content, you need to partner with the right brands.
What is a commerce content brand partner?
A brand partner can be any brand, big or small, that wants to drive organic awareness of its product. Commerce content benefits both brands and publishers.
- Brand value: Provides an established audience for its products and services
- Publisher value: Provides a new revenue model with editorial value
Finding the right partnership allows you and the brand to grow together, but the brand needs to be a natural fit for the content so it doesn’t look like a sponsored article. For example, a beauty publisher wouldn’t publish an article on hardware products – this wouldn’t make sense for their editorial focus.
Typically, brands approach publishers to share their products (although publishers often reach out to brands too). Publishers choose brands that fit their content, focusing on sharing products where they make the most sense within the content.
Why publishers need commerce content brand partnerships
Commerce content benefits publishers in many ways, such as revenue increases and diversification. A research report from impact.com also asked digital publishers to highlight indirect benefits:
- 45 percent said it makes their brands more recognizable to the public
- 40 percent said their digital content keeps audiences more engaged
- 36 percent said it expands their audiences
Strong brand partnerships feed successful commerce content strategies. Existing brand relationships also improve with commerce content – one-third of respondents in the same survey said it incentivizes readers to visit brands’ websites.
How to find commerce content brands that align with your publication
Finding brands that fit organically into your content depends on the type of content you create. Different types of commerce content include:
- Product reviews
- Gift guides
- How-to guides
- Buyer’s guides
- Product comparisons
Your publication needs to recommend products that align with your audience and brand values. The best way to build and maintain trust with audiences? Share products that provide a solution for the consumer. What might your customer want to see, and how can you provide it?
If you make good recommendations that suit your audience, they’re likely to come back for more – which translates to an increase in your site’s traffic.
As a trusted publisher, you may already have brands in your inbox asking for a partnership. Weigh the pros and cons of each brand and make sure you believe in it enough to recommend it to your audience.
Some publishers use partnership platforms to gain insights from commerce content. These insights help you understand your audience better. By analyzing clicks and conversion data, you can identify your audience’s interests and select better brand partners in the future.
How are content deals structured?
When creating commerce content, coming to an agreement with brands typically falls into two categories — bespoke (custom bundles) and non-bespoke (pre-structured).
Publishers and brands see many benefits from both structures. Every publisher has different goals and targets. Align your commerce content with your strategy and find out what works best for you and your audience.
Bundled with other paid media (non-bespoke)
You can create bundles that include other paid media alongside commerce content. These ready-made packages typically involve different forms of advertising grouped together. This type of bundle might work best for smaller advertisers who pay performance fees.
For example, if a banner ad gains a certain number of clicks, the brand pays you a publisher commission. Then you, as the publisher, pull in the content component (an article, blog, or other content), aiming for a certain number of clicks on products with a guaranteed spend.
Bundled with other paid media (bespoke)
Alternatively, a custom bundle might work best when dealing with a more significant advertiser or brand. In this case, pay more attention to what’s in the bundle with commerce content. Depending on your platform’s advertising, this could include as much or as little additional advertising as you or the brand would like.
Bespoke content deal without paid media
The agreement doesn’t have to include paid media. A content-only arrangement can consist of articles on your website or other mediums.
This content deal might not be where you start right away, as much of your revenue still comes from traditional digital advertising. It can be scary to immediately step away from the advertising you’re used to into commerce content only. But you’ll likely see how effective commerce content can be – especially when a brand performs well for your platform.
How to discover and connect with brands
Searching for brands that fit your platform consumes time and resources. Many publishers look to partnership platforms like impact.com’s Marketplace to find the right brands and save time.
A partnership platform helps you with:
- Partner recruitment
- Advanced partnership tracking
- Granular reporting and actionable insights
- Contracting and automated payments
- Invoicing and earnings withdrawal
- Progress tracking
Automated platforms simplify commerce content management so you can focus on growing revenue. Learn more about developing your relationships and the commerce content ecosystem in the Ultimate guide to commerce content.
For publishers, commerce content acts as a new revenue stream that engages and expands audiences. Thoughtfully finding, structuring, and maintaining brand partnerships leads to a successful commerce content strategy.
Find the best partners for your publishing business
Commerce content allows you a lot of freedom. You can tailor it to your business values, give your audience what they want, and package it (or not) with other paid media.
Continue to build those content partnerships, and you’ll forge relationships that benefit you and the brands you work with.
Commerce content isn’t just a great solution to dwindling advertising revenue; you’re also likely to see increased traffic and trust from your audience. Knowing how to find and embrace brand partnerships and technology helps you thrive.
Maybe you’re ready to start your commerce content program now — contact a growth technologist at email@example.com today.
Want to know more about how commerce content works for publishers? Check out these resources: